Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, March 27, 2009

ASP - Tazwell

Have you ever heard of Appalachian Service Project? Well, neither had I until about 8 years ago. One of my daughters best friends, Mary Rachel, went on an ASP trip and when she returned she was on fire. The next year, Kat and I went. I will never be the same again. You have to understand me....I do not like being dirty. I like clean....but I then I found myself...roofing a house in the hot West Virginia summer. My head team leader, Willie, was an experienced builder....and a man. He had roofed before. I did not do heights. What a pair we made. I grew very close to my team every day. We would leave for the job early in the morning....and listen to James Taylor as we drove through the quiet mountainside. What a glorious time. Our family was the Wiedenhofts. We adored them. It was Grandmother Wiedenhofts birthday while we were there and Rod baked her a cake. She was delighted. I don't think anyone had ever done something like that for her. Our last day in Tazwell....we went for an afternoon ride through a place called God's Thumbprint. It was breathtaking. So, besides getting dirty...what exactly is ASP? Well it is a project that occurs in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky where groups of people come and do emergency home repair on houses. The groups that come to work actually pay for the materials, bring their own tools, provide litte goodies for the host families, and learn that God can use everyone anywhere. I know I learned how much he could use me. I left Tazwell...a new person. I knew that I was a survivor....and that God could do great things through me. If you ever get a chance to go on an ASP trip I promise will not be sorry. It will be the greatest thing you will ever do. BTW....I still don't like getting dirty...I have a heck of a collection of power tools, and can actually build a deck, roof a house, and work under a house....without screaming over cobwebs.

FYI - Just thought you might like to know that this year marks the 40th anniversary of Appalachia Service Project (ASP)!

It all began with one man's simple vision: to match high school youth groups with families in need so their homes could be made warmer, safer and drier. In this first issue of The Front Porch for 2009, you'll read how that man -- Rev. Glenn "Tex" Evans -- founded ASP and helped its roots grow deep during the first decade from 1969 to 1979. The theme for this momentous anniversary year is Putting Faith Forward -- because even now, as we look back and rejoice at the amazing work accomplished by Tex and ASP over four decades of sweat and toil -- and love and compassion, we realize there is still much to do! The communities we serve here in Central Appalachia have poverty rates that are three times the national average ... and today we can only afford to help ONE out of every 10 families that apply to us for home repair assistance. Read more about how ASP is making a difference and how you can help!


Leigh of said...

Awesome! I would love to do something like that!

Ms. Marty said...

I hear the call of the ASP. i am scheduled to leave the 13th of June for Baja for a week. It will be a different trip the year, much smaller, but we will do what we can and God will guide us. As far as ASP is concerned, I don't know what I could do - I have no tools, don't know if I could use them if I had them, etc. But I can cook. Do they need them? Seriously, I would love to know more about it.

Kelly said...

This does sound wonderful. Now that you have us so inticed, perhaps you could provide contact information or a site where we can learn more. My 15 year old would like to go, and if he is able, this sounds like a once in a lifetime family trip! Thank you for sharing this with us :)

Rachel said...

Hi Karen,

I'm ASP's Director of Volunteer Recruitment, and I wanted to thank you for sharing your story! Just goes to show that God uses our weaknesses (and dirt phobias!) to do amazing things. And also that ASP really helps people discover new things about themselves -- that you can do more than you thought you could.

If you're on Facebook, you ought to become a fan of ASP:

We'd love to have you bring a group of adults from your church during our Adult Program, which runs Sept-May. We have a Women's Weekend coming up in Nov.

And for your other commenters, you can learn more at Or you're welcome to contact me directly at

Thanks again, and take care!

Grace & Peace,
Rachel Gossett